Public Broadcasting under Attack
Public broadcasting is perpetually under attack in Washington by those who would cripple public-spirited alternatives to the commercial media and muzzle the critical voices and diverse fare that PBS, NPR and other public media offer.
Virtually every year, proposed cuts to funding for journalism, educational and community programming at more than a thousand stations threaten the survival of public broadcasting in communities that need it most.
Restoring this funding is important. But Free Press’ public broadcasting campaign goes beyond short-term fixes to a system that is routinely underfunded and under assault by partisan opponents. The operating model of public broadcasting must be recast to fulfill its founding mission to serve as “a forum for debate and controversy” and “a voice for groups that may otherwise be unheard.”
Saving Public Media
Free Press is assembling a coalition of policymakers, reform-minded public TV and radio stations, and local citizen activists to advocate for a public broadcasting system that offers more independent programming, harder-hitting journalism, and the educational, ad-free content that is missing from commercial media.
Any reforms of public broadcasting must not only take into account the flagship programming at PBS and NPR, but the broad universe of community radio stations, low-power FM stations, and other noncommercial community outlets. We need to build a sustainable and vibrant public broadcasting system that truly serves the needs of local communities over the air and online.
Several policy remedies have been proposed over the years, all of which merit serious consideration to assess their viability in the current political climate. Free Press is working with the public to help identify the most viable of these proposals before we take our advocacy work to Congress.
If you’re interested in joining our fight to put the public back in public broadcasting, please sign up as a Free Press e-activist.